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I-League-winning striker fights to create a ends meet

Bineesh Balan was a promising forward with a brilliant future when he finished paperwork for Pune FC in 2014 in the I-League, at that point the nation’s top level in football.

The winger from Thrissur had just won various titles with Churchill Brothers—two Durand Cup prizes, one Federation Cup, and two I-League titles—and was required to break into the public group soon.

Balan originates from a helpless family: his dad was a doorman; football was to be his course to a superior life, and he was on the cusp of understanding that fantasy.

However, a spate of wounds implied that the 2014-15 season was the last time Balan would play proficient football. He was only 25. At the point when his one-year contract with Pune finished, his wounds implied no other club marked him on. Pune FC itself collapsed in 2015. He likewise enlisted for the 2015 Indian Super League (ISL) barters however went unsold.

Six years after the previous I-League winning forward disappeared from the public football scene, Balan says he is in desperate waterways monetarily, and working in his old neighborhood as an every day wage worker, doing carpentry, painting and stacking and emptying trucks. “I don’t have any work right now. My situation is very bad at the moment,” he said over the phone.

“Now I am working as a daily wage labourer in different places. My father worked as a coolie (porter), but he is too old to work now; my mother is a homemaker. I have a wife and a one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, and my family is dependent on me. Now with the coronavirus pandemic, the situation is even more difficult,” Balan said.

“My father and I have tried to approach the government. I tried for jobs, and met several officials. We even went to the Kerala sports ministry with my certificates, but they did not take it in a serious way,” added the former India youth international and Tata Football Academy alumnus.

Kerala Football Association secretary Anil Kumar responded to the news, saying: “It is an unfortunate situation and we have forwarded his appeal to the state sports council with a request that it be brought to the notice of the state sports minister (EP Jayarajan). We are hopeful of a positive development soon.”

Kumar said there was a misconception about Balan saying he was neglected for government occupations. “I don’t think he applied for one when he was eligible for a sports quota job. The entire Santosh Trophy winning team (2018) got government jobs because they had applied on time. Balan possibly focused on his professional career when he could have applied for a job in the sports quota.”

Balan said that ahead of schedule into his expert vocation, he contributed his investment funds on building a house for his family and aiding in the wedding of his sister. He put in a couple of years living off his football income, he stated, and searching for occupations, before taking on work. His other kin—more youthful sibling Bijesh Balan—is likewise a footballer and had recently played for I-League club Gokulam Kerala.

Bijesh, 25, as of late found a new line of work in Kerala Police as a head constable and is currently going through a camp in Thiruvananthapuram before joining obligation, he said.

“I don’t want to depend on him or anyone to feed my family. He is still very young and has only recently joined Kerala Police,” said the older Balan brother.

Balan said he hadn’t educated his folks that he was functioning as a day by day wage worker until a week ago when he chose to give a meeting to Malayalam news channel Asianet News about his present circumstance. “When I went out to work, I used to go wearing my jersey with my full kit so that whenever my father asked, I said I was going out for practice. I never told my parents what work I was doing,” he said.

Asked whether he had moved toward anybody in the Indian football industry for help, Balan answered in the negative, saying: “When you’re fit, everyone wants you; but when you are injured, that is not possible.”

The All India Football Federation didn’t react to demands for a remark.

Incredible forward IM Vijayan bemoaned the player’s present circumstance. He stated: “He was an attacking player but burnt out at a young age. We hope some of the sports or government bodies extend much-needed help to him.”

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Daily Pune journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.

 

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